Games, Design & Game Design

Notes On An Unfinished Game (Part 1)

In Contest, Design Process, Game Design on September 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm

(blame Game Chef for this one)

Zim? Zim left, man. Zim went out to the Edge. We’re all waiting. The war will wait – you know that. Edge Truce holds when someone goes to the Edge. What? Break Edge Truce? Never, man, never. You’re crazy. Break Truce and everyone comes down on you – the Lugs, the Skinners, the Trace – hell, the Man might get involved. You listen to me, buddy. You sit tight with the rest of us and wait until Zim comes back.

If he comes back.

There’s a vibrant, bustling, huge city that has built up over time, layer upon layer like some kind of industrial wedding cake. At the top are the movers and shakers, the beautiful people, the people who get things done. This game’s not about them. It’s about those who live below, where daylight is dark and night is black, where people scratch and scrabble and steal just to get by. It’s about the powers that rule these lower layers, far away from the sunshine. And it’s about where it all ends – the Edge.

(more after the cut)

This game is for 3-6 players. One of the players will be the Boss. The Boss is in charge. Generally, whoever knows the game the best will be the Boss. The Boss is in charge of the gang that all the players are a member of; the other players, obviously, take on the roles of key members of that gang.

In the undercity, gangs take root, grow, fight and die like weeds and brambles. There are a couple that have proved themselves to be survivors. Here’s a list of the biggest, baddest and wierdest gangs in the undercity – if you don’t like any of them, you can make your own, but it’s gonna be even harder to survive.

  • Lugs – these are the hardest of the hard, dudes who can take any beating and keep going. They’re one of the smaller gangs because their initiation ceremony kills most of those who attempt it.
  • Skinners – know for the ceremonial scalping of their enemies, the skinners derive satisfaction as well as power from removing the skin from other body parts as well.
  • The Trace – the closest thing in the undercity to mercenaries, The Trace make no allies and no enemies. It’s good for their business, which is finding anything, or anyone, they put their considerable efforts towards.
  • 11th Road – taking their name from the avenue that leads higher up into the city, 11th Road is the conduit for money and favors to come down from above, and sin and excess to flow up from below.
  • Juicers – little more organized than rabble, Juicers are united more by illness than ideology. Addicted to the essence of living energy called Juice, it’s a wonder that these cadaverous junkies manage to keep any kind of territory. But they do.

Gangs are defined by:

  • Tricks – the special techniques or resources that being in the gang gives you access too.
  • Size – how many dudes are in the gang.
  • Graft – the ability to oil the machinery that keeps the city going.
  • Loyalty – how dedicated the members are to the gang, and to each other.
  • Turf – how much territory the gang has, and how important its location is.

When you pick your Gang, the Boss takes the gang sheet, fills in the starting numbers, and places chips (or tokens, or coins, or whatever) equal to the number in each spot, accordingly. These are the resources of the gang that everyone playing has access too.

  • Lugs: Tricks 2, Size 2, Graft 3, Loyalty 6, Turf 4
  • Skinners: Tricks 4, Size 3, Graft 2, Loyalty 5, Turf 3
  • The Trace: Tricks 6, Size 3, Graft 5, Loyalty 3, Turf 2
  • 11th Road: Tricks 2, Size 4, Graft 5, Loyalty 3, Turf 5
  • Juicers: Tricks 4, Size 5, Graft 2, Loyalty 2, Turf 4
  • Your Own Gang: Tricks 3, Size 3, Graft 3, Loyalty 3, Turf 3 – each player can choose one thing to lower by 1 in order to raise another thing by 1

Still Up: gang member stats, what the Boss does, what the players do, how to drive conflict (event cards, perhaps), how to resolved conflict, how to become the new Boss

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